Bully for Brontosaurus: Reflections in Natural History

Bully for Brontosaurus: Reflections in Natural History

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by Stephen Jay Gould
     
 

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"Provocative and delightfully discursive essays on natural history. . . . Gould is the Stan Musial of essay writing. He can work himself into a corkscrew of ideas and improbable allusions paragraph after paragraph and then, uncoiling, hit it with such power that his fans know they are experiencing the game of essay writing at its best."—John Noble Wilford, New

Overview

"Provocative and delightfully discursive essays on natural history. . . . Gould is the Stan Musial of essay writing. He can work himself into a corkscrew of ideas and improbable allusions paragraph after paragraph and then, uncoiling, hit it with such power that his fans know they are experiencing the game of essay writing at its best."—John Noble Wilford, New York Times Book Review

Editorial Reviews

Washington Post Book World
No living scientist who writes for the public has a better claim to the mantle of Thomas Huxley in range of interests and felicity of style. . . . Bully for Brontosaurus is the fifth and finest selection.— David Fromkin
David Fromkin - Washington Post Book World
“No living scientist who writes for the public has a better claim to the mantle of Thomas Huxley in range of interests and felicity of style. . . . Bully for Brontosaurus is the fifth and finest selection.”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Successor to The Panda's Thumb , The Flamingo's Smile and other books, this collection of essays from Natural History magazine may be Gould's finest to date. Focusing on evolution, oddities of nature, remote connections between historical figures and the battle against creationism, the author is severely critical of science education in the U.S. and, in ``The Case of the Creeping Fox Terrier,'' textbook publishers who fail to adequately update their revisions. He introduces the (French) Royal Commission of 1784 and its investigation of Mesmerism as an example of logic; discourses on the real origin of baseball; attempts to reconstruct the human family tree. In ``Justice Scalia's Misunderstanding,'' Gould chides Antonin Scalia for his dissent in the 1987 Supreme Court creationism case; the justice, he argues, equated creation and evolution. Whether his topic is typewriter design, the technical triumph of Voyager or Joe DiMaggio's hitting streak, Gould holds our attention. His essays are illuminating, instructive and fun to read. Photos. BOMC selection; History Book Club featured alternate. (May)
Library Journal
Gould is a masterful essayist whose previous collections, such as The Flamingo's Smile ( LJ 9/15/85), as well as other titles, notably Wonderful Life ( LJ 9/1/89), have been well received. Most of the essays here, some with added postscripts and notes, were selected from his column in Natural History magazine (1985-90). Like those in his previous collections, these pithy essays focus on evolution and the workings of science. Gould's fans, serious readers many of whom eagerly await his essays to appear in book form, will find these works fascinating, literate, and often challenging--vintage Gould. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/90.-- Joseph Hannibal, Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393308570
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
04/28/1992
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
544
Sales rank:
273,966
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
1350L (what's this?)

Meet the Author

Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Geology at Harvard University. He published over twenty books, received the National Book and National Book Critics Circle Awards, and a MacArthur Fellowship.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 10, 1941
Date of Death:
May 20, 2002
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
Place of Death:
Boston, Massachusetts
Education:
B.S., Antioch College, 1963; Ph.D., Columbia University, 1967

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Bully for Brontosaurus: Reflections in Natural History 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
good read had to put down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading Bully for Brontosaurus, I had more pleasant things to say about the book than I did displeasing. For one, I enjoyed the writing style of Mr. Gould. He took difficult material and simplified it through his writing. Not only did his unique writing style impress me but also I was awe stricken by the topics discussed. Each topic dealt with an aspect of evolution that left me to ponder what life might be like if past events had not occurred. Another quality of the book included Gould¿s thorough knowledge of the subject matter discussed. He gave explicit interpretations of the theories at hand and voiced his own opinions and beliefs. The book was impressive but not everything was satisfactory. Although I enjoyed the material, I felt like the title was misleading. I purchased the book with nothing but dinosaurs in mind and received a little more than I bargained for. In addition, his writing style was pleasing but at times, he skipped from subject to subject which left me with nothing but confusion. As I said before the majority of my thoughts on this book are favorable but not all were pleasant.